I have tried to sit down and write this blog a million times. I honestly didn’t want to go back to that headspace. Back to Tuzla. Back to Srebrenica. Back to the bone man. Back to what I considered an emotional living hell. Every time I sit down to write this, I am immediately overwhelmed with feelings, most of which I cant describe. So then I close my computer and walk away. Then I remember the people we met, Hasan, Saliha, Ramiz and the stories of countless others. They don’t have that option to close their computer on their feelings and walk away. They live with the grief of their loved ones being murdered, they live with moments when they wake up and think that their husband and two sons are downstairs until the reality hits that they are dead. They live with not getting the closure that they so longingly deserve. They can’t just walk away.
I am so sorry.
Learning about genocide in class and from textbooks is so incredibly different than being in these places first hand. When you listen to a lecture, they talk about numbers and how these atrocities happened. But when you are there, talking to the people, hearing their stories and hearing their heartbreak, it is a whole different thing. When listening to the different stories of these individuals, I wavered between emotions. I experienced sadness, anger, hopelessness and grief. Grief for people that I had just met, grief for their family members and friends. Grief for the city and country itself. One thing that I will always remember is when one of the girls on the trip asked Saliha what she felt as though her purpose was now and she replied with..
I have no purpose, my sons and husband are gone. I am waiting to die
I want to remember these feelings I had while in Srebrenica and the following weeks back in Sarajevo. I want to remember the sadness, the disappointment, the hopelessness. I want to remember asking myself if there is a god, and if there is, why would he let something like this happen?
I know that this blog doesn’t really tell you what we did while we were in Srebrenica. But I cannot articulate these stories the way that I want to. I hope that me conveying my feelings gives somewhat of an idea of how it was there.